Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Review: The Poison Eaters

This collection of short stories is a testimonial to the prowess of Holly Black's writing.  I have been wanting to read her work for a long time, but took my time getting to it.  When I saw The Poison Eaters, I was intrigued by the thought that I could devour a short story on the subway to and from work.  Since there is no way I could give a short review on all twelve stories, I just wanted to make a few comments on the stories I enjoyed the most.

I  read "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" on the subway home from work the day I picked up this book and almost missed my stop.  It was chilling and a perfect way to open readers to Black's work.  Though she can write witty dialogue, her talent lies in the darkness of her writing.  The story takes place in a time where, to some, being a vampire is as sexy and seductive as being a celebrity.  When a friend's sister runs away to join them, narrator (and recently bitten) Matilda goes to great lengths to show her the true cruelty and darkness that lies within the gates of Coldtown, where the vampires live.  Eerie, scary and addictive, Black definitely did a good job putting this story first!

I found "The Dog King" to be one of the most exciting stories -- letting you piece together bits of the puzzle.  In this specific kingdom, wolves are hunted as they are the cause of brutal human murders in the town.  The king keeps a wolf as his pet, but this wolf spends its time watching the hands of aristocrats under long royal tables and begins to understand everyone secrets.  His own secrets are slowly revealed throughout the story.  Enthralling!

Lastly, I loved "Paper Cuts Scissors", a story about a world where certain people can move characters in and out of books.  I was delighted to see Anne of Green Gables come to life (my all time favourite character!).  Justin, who is studying library sciences, is on the hunt to find one man he knows can help him release his girlfriend after she inserts herself into a large Russian novel during an argument.  Just the concept that characters could come to life was fascinating!

All of this to say that Holly Black has my attention, and I will be turning to her White Cat series VERY soon!  (P.S. LOVE the creepiness of this cover -- a depiction of the three sisters in the title story, "The Poison Eaters".)


Natalie said...

YAY! So glad you enjoyed this one! I can't wait to read it for myself! Holly Black is one of my favourite YA authors :) And "Paper Cuts Scissors" definitely sounds like a story I'm going to love since my beloved Anne makes a guest appearance! You definitely need to read the White Cat series though! It's awesome :D

PS. The cover is GORGEOUS! I love it!

Jennifer Hillier said...

I think you had me at Anne of Green Gables coming to life. Seriously. She is my favorite character Of All Time.

Thanks for the recommendation! Definitely adding The Poison Eaters to my to-be-read list.

Maja said...

Defintiely read The Curse Workers series soon. It's one of my all-time faves. And I absolutely adore Holly Black because of it. I think I should give this one a try.

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